The Bluesbox Collection

1950's Regal Parlor Guitar (Harmony)

When I got this guitar, it was a mess!! There was a decal rosette around the sound hole, which was deteriorated beyond the point of saving and some vey bad scratches and dings, also around the soundhole. The tuners were completely shot, all bent and with knobs and gears missing. The nut was broken, and part of it was gone. The tailpiece was held on with brads, and they were all loose. But I noticed several good things right away as well. First of all, it has a real rosewood fingerboard and the three piece mahogany neck was perfectly straight and had a nice shape and width to it that would undoubtedly make the guitar easy to play. The body was sound with no cracks or breaks, and, the strangest thing, although the top and back are made from solid birch, the sides are solid mahogany!

I started work on it by first fashioning a pickguard that would be both decorative and would cover the horrible mess around the soundhole. I designed it after pickguard I saw on an old Stella presentation model, and made it large enough to cover where the original pickguard was screwed on as well. I installed a pin bridge, with a Bridge Doctor fitted to compensate for the original bracing. The peg head sports a Regal logo sticker, rather then a decal, which is a clue to the dating. I fitted it with a new nut and installed these Kluson knock-off tuners. I proceeded to string it up and was amazed at the fine tone of this instrument. It is the best sounding small guitar (other than my Washburn) that I own! And it plays very easily. It now does double duty as my camping guitar and I also play it for a lot of my street gigs.

The original Regal brand went through many incarnations before it was finally abandoned in the 1960's. It started as an independent manufacturer, but was acquired by Lyon & Healy at some point prior to 1908. Later both Regal and the L&H Washburn brands were bought by the Tonk Bros. distribution firm. At the time this guitar was made, Regal was a brand name of the Harmony Company.

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